Thursday, December 20, 2012

Candied Ginger

Wouldn't you know it!  I was all geared up for corn syrup free candy making this Christmas .... and after no rain since September, it's been raining.  And the humidity is up too high - I proved it to myself with a disastrous batch of Seafoam.  However, these candied gingers turned out great!  And you end up with quite a bit of ginger syrup that makes a great ginger ale (mixed with seltzer water).  It's also yummy over ice cream and I'm thinking it'd work really well in some baked goods recipes I have in mind.

There are several things that will make this turn out really good - find the freshest ginger you can (Asian markets are often a good place to start), cut the ginger as thin as you can and in very small pieces (much smaller than the ones in the photo), and look at the grain in your ginger.  Yes, ginger has a grain that can be tough to cut across.  I cut my larger pieces against the grain and then made my small slices with the grain - much easier.  This is very hot at first, but it mellows after a few days in an airtight container.

Candied Ginger
1 cup peeled fresh ginger cut into very thin, small pieces
3 cups organic sugar
3 cups water
about 1/2 cup organic sugar

In a non-reactive pan, combine the water and raw sugar and heat over medium heat until dissolved.  Add ginger.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 45 - 50 minutes - until the ginger is tender.  Spread the white sugar over the bottom of a cake pan or pie plate.  Strain out the ginger and add to the additional sugar, stirring to coat and separate the pieces.  Leave out on the counter until dry and hard.  Separate the pieces and store in an airtight container.

Green Olives

I don't know if Trader Joe's canned green olives (ingredients are only olives, water, and sea salt) are lower in histamines than the usual cured olives with vinegar, but I've been able to eat 4 to 5 at a time once a week with no apparent problems.  They're pretty bland by themselves, but delicious marinated in this recipe!

Marinated Green Olives
1 can plain green olives (like the Trader Joe's ones I mention above), rinsed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of pepper
1 small red sweet pepper cut into matchsticks
slivered almonds

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, wine, fennel, salt, and pepper and whisk well.  Stuff olives with almond slivers.  Add olives and sweet red pepper to the marinade, combine well, and refrigerate for a few hours.

Update through 12 - 20 - 2012

Arrowroot - Penzey's
Sweet potatoes - organic, unwashed, unwaxed and no sprout retardant
Trader Joe's canned green olives - olives, sea salt, and water are only ingredients
Laura Chenel goat chevre
Mitica Drunken Goat Cheese

Recipe changes:
Added peppermint ice cream option to coconut milk ice cream recipe.
Added caramel ice cream option to coconut milk ice cream recipe.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Empire Half Turkey Breast

This is our favorite way to roast turkey breasts!  The Empire one is great because, unless you don't do well with corn fed meat, it works for many corn allergic people (washed in water and salt only and the soaker pad does not use citric acid according to one of their customer service reps), it's brined and is very moist and tender.  And it turns out beautifully - I forgot to take a picture of it before the skin came off, so imagine it all golden brown!

Empire half turkey breast
about 1/2 cup of chopped fresh herbs - I use sage and thyme
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

1.  Mix herbs, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Gently cut the membrane that holds the skin on - just along the front so that you make a pocket.

2.  Stuff in the herb mixture.  Smooth the skin back down and rub the turkey with the olive from your hands.  Salt and pepper the outside.

3.  Roast in a 425 degree oven until the thickest part gets to 165 degrees - a little over an hour.  Remove from oven and tent with foil for 5 minutes.  Take the meat off and slice - save the skin and bone for stock.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Pizza Crust and Chicken Pizza

I'm now officially in heaven - I can eat pizza again!  This has been a long, long process - first trying a bajillion test recipes for the crust and then finding a cheese I could eat.  For quite awhile it looked like I was allergic to milk (I did test moderate to it), but the reactions I kept getting from cheese I'd try were the same as if I ate corn, so I just wasn't sure.  But, I'm happy to say I can eat the Goat Gouda from Holland at Trader Joe's.  And the Mitica goat chevre from Spain that I find at Whole Foods.  If you're extremely sensitive to histamine in food, cheese isn't going to work for you.  If you're somewhat sensitive, a cheese that hasn't been aged may work.  Luckily I'm becoming less sensitive!

First the pizza crust!  We went through quite a few horrible crusts to get to this point.  This recipe makes two crusts - I use one and freeze the other.  You can actually go ahead and top the other pizza, cook it, and then freeze it - it cooks great at 425 degrees straight from the freezer.

Pizza Crust
2 cups white rice flour
1 cup arrowroot starch
1 T sugar (maple syrup, honey, etc.)
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. plain, unflavored gelatin
1 tsp. sea salt

2 T ground flax
6T water

1 to 1 1/2 cups warm water (see below)
1T olive oil
1T lemon juice

Mix all the dry ingredients from the first group of ingredients.  Mix flax and water and microwave for 1 minute.  Mix together the warm water, olive oil and lemon juice.  Use 1 cup of water for a little bit thicker, softer crust and more water for a thinner, crisper crust.

Add all ingredients together and mix well.  If you're making a thinner crust, it will look more like batter than bread.  The other has a muffin batter consistency.

Divide between two well-greased cookie sheets and spread out.  You'll need to do this with a spoon for the thinner crust.  I aim for an 8 to 10 inch diameter rough circle.  Make a crust on the edges - harder with the thinner!  Update:  I've found it's easier to do the first baking on parchment paper, then take it off and put the crusts directly on the cooking sheet for the second baking (with the toppings).  I've been fine using Reynolds or 365 brands.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes and then top or freeze.  After topping, continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes or until it's browned the way you like it.  The crusts stick to the pans even with heavy oiling - I find it easier to dislodge them with a spatula before they're topped.

Chicken Pizza - makes enough for 2 pizzas
(not low histamine with the cheese)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves garlic, grated
2 inch by 1 inch piece of ginger, grated
2T olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried thyme
Salt and pepper

Olive oil for sauteing
Large shallot, sliced or diced
1/4 cup white wine
1T arrowroot starch

Roasted red sweet peppers

Cut chicken into small pieces.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in the first group, add chicken, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

Heat oil and saute shallot until golden.  Add chicken (save the marinade) and saute until cooked through.  Add the wine and arrowroot starch to the reserved marinade.  Add to the chicken and cook until thickened.

Spread chicken onto pizza crusts, top with cheese and then sliced roasted red sweet peppers.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.

Rice Flour

This actually makes sense, when you stop and think about it!  All rice is not equal when ground into flour.  I'd never even considered this before, but back when I used wheat I knew that different wheats ground into flours that were good for different things - semolina for pasta, soft spring wheat for baked goods, ... 

Last week I ran out of jasmine rice, so I ground up some white basmati I had.  Then disaster struck!  I made chapatis - they fell apart.  Pancakes, muffins - same crumbling texture.  Basmati apparently does not make good flour!  Just to experiment, I ground Trader Joe's white jasmine rice, the white jasmine I get from a local Asian market, and Lundberg's white jasmine.  The flour from the Lundberg's rice made the best baked products.  So ... I recommend grinding rice flour from Lundberg's white jasmine for baked goods.  I haven't tried rice flour pasta, but when I do, I'll experiment with several different types of rice.

Updates through 11-09-12

Heidi's Hens Ground Dark Turkey (I buy at Whole Foods)
Trader Joe's Goat Gouda from Holland - not low histamine
goat chevre - Mitica de Cabra (I buy at Whole Foods) - not low histamine
Organic blackberries - without a bottom liner in the box
Pinto beans - made from dried beans
Fungus Among Us dried morels

Arm and Hammer baking soda in the small box only - the large box packaging has changed and corn allergic people are reporting reactions

Recipe Correction:
In the almond cookies recipe, the amount of vanilla should read 1 tablespoon, not teaspoon

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fresh Fig Cake

I love figs!  The California black figs are in season now and this cake is a good way to use them.

Fresh Fig Cake
2 cups chopped figs, stems removed
2 cups rice flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup organic sugar
1/3 cup coconut milk (or water or other milk)

Add all ingredients to large bowl and stir to mix thoroughly.  Pour into a greased 8x8 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from the sides.

Cool and spread on glaze.

Glaze - 3/4 cup powdered organic sugar, 1T homemade vanilla, 1T coconut oil (or olive oil).  Add enough water (just a bit) to get a pourable glaze. 

Dijon-type Mustard

After several tries, I've finally come up with a vinegar-free mustard that I like!  This one is based off Dijon-type mustards.

Honey Dijon Mustard
2 cups white wine
2 large shallots, chopped
2 to 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme - try other herbs, too, for different flavors
1 cup mustard powder
3 Tablespoons raw honey
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Add wine, shallots, and thyme to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 5 minutes.  Strain the shallots and herbs out and let the remaining liquid cool to warm.

Whisk in the dry mustard and then the honey, olive oil, and salt.  Cook over low heat until it has slightly thickened - keep whisking while cooking.

Pour into a container - glass or ceramic is best as the mustard will eat into many other materials.  Let sit out overnight and then age in the refrigerator for 2 - 3 weeks.

Rosemary Almonds

These are a great variation I came up with of the crispy almonds from Nourishing Traditions.

Rosemary Almonds
1 pound slivered, blanched raw almonds (I buy mine at Trader Joe's) - make sure they're steam, not chemically, pasteurized
handful of fresh rosemary (snipped into small pieces) or about 1 Tablespoon of dried rosemary
1 Tablespoon kosher or sea salt

Put almonds in stock or sauce pan and cover with water.  Add salt and rosemary and bring almost to a boil.  Turn off heat, cover, and let soak for around 9 hours.

Drain almonds and spread in a thin layer on two cookie sheets.  Put into oven on warm - that's 170 degrees with my oven.  Test after about 14 hours - they should be crispy when done.  Cool and store in airtight container.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Baked Pineapple

If you get a tingly, sore mouth after eating pineapple you might have an oral allergy syndrome reaction to it.  I always thought it was the acidity!  If you have allergies to things such as grass, birch, or ragweed, your mouth area cells sometimes mistake certain foods (often fruits) as those, causing a reaction.  With most foods (but not always), cooking takes care of the problem.  So after years of avoiding pineapple because I thought I was allergic to it, I'm eating it again!  It is moderate in histamines, though, so I'm eating it every once in awhile.

Baked Pineapple
Trim the outside of the pineapple off and cut into slices.  Place slices on a baking sheet.  You can sprinkle each slice with brown or raw sugar if you want a nice dessert, but baking makes the pineapple taste sweeter just by itself.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes (depends on how thick your slices are), or until the pineapple is beginning to brown slightly.

Updates thru 5-25-12

Trader Joe's Organic Coconut Oil - doesn't taste as "coconutty" as the Spectrum, but is also half the price
Wholesome Foods raw cane turbinado sugar and molasses
Trader Joe's raw cane turbinado sugar
Cooked pineapple - if you're allergic to corn and sensitive to the ethylene gas used to ripen fruit, you may have problems with pineapple.  I avoid Dole and Del Monte and seem to do okay with organic brands.

Add to allergies:

Almond Cookies

These are amazing, whether or not you have tons of allergies!  If you bake them for around 18 minutes, they turn out crunchy and if you cook them around 15 minutes (they'll still look too soft), they turn out chewy.  I follow the instructions on The Nourishing Cook for soaking and drying almonds before using them - it makes them easier to digest and makes the nutrients more available.  I also grind my own almond meal, flax, and powdered sugar using a Tri-Best Personal Blender with the grinding blades.

Almond Cookies
3 1/2 cups almond meal
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (I grind my own from organic cane sugar)
2 T ground flax
1 tablespoon homemade vanilla
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda

1.  Mix the ground flax with 6 T water and microwave for about 1 minute.

2.  Mix together all dry ingredients.  Add the cooked flax and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  I finish it up by hand kneading the mixture to make sure it's all mixed.

3.  Roll dough into balls (about 1 1/2 inches diameter) and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Flatten with the palm of your hand or a glass.  Press an almond sliver into the center.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes.  Let cool.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Updates thru 3-8-12

cannellini beans, made from dried beans
freshly steamed clams
raisins, Trader Joe's Organic Thompson Unsulfured
almonds, Trader Joe's raw blanched- I eat them soaked and roasted
coconut oil, Tropical Traditions, Spectrum
tuna, Trader Joe's pink can (water, no salt) - may not work for you if you're extremely histamine sensitive

Recipe Changes:
I'm now using coconut oil in most of my baked goods instead of olive oil.  A lighter, yummier taste.  The measurements are the same.

Lemon Cake

Our lemon tree is in full bloom, keeping the bees busy and the yard wonderfully scented!  This is one of my favorite cakes to make.Yum!  It's easy and keeps in the refrigerator (if it lasts that long) for several days.  I originally made it with water instead of coconut milk and olive oil instead of coconut oil - it still tastes great that way, but the coconut milk and oil step it up a notch.

Lemon Cake

1 ¼ cups white rice flour
1 cup organic sugar
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
scant 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg or flax egg substitute
¼ cup coconut oil (or olive oil)
2T lemon juice + coconut milk (or water) to equal ¾ cup (you can add more lemon juice if you want it really lemony - just keep the total at  ¾ cup)

Mix and pour into greased 8 or 9 inch baking pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Pour glaze on cake immediately and keep spreading it around until it all soaks in.

Glaze – ¾ cup powdered sugar (C&H has corn starch in it, others have tapioca – if you want only sugar, grind granulated sugar in blender)
1T coconut oil (or olive oil)
lemon juice to make a thin glaze

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Roasted Sweet Pepper Basil Soup

This recipe was inspired by tomato basil soup and tastes very similar and avoids those high histamine tomatoes.  If you don't have problems with dairy, you can use half and half or milk in place of the coconut milk.

Roasted Sweet Pepper Basil Soup
Makes about 4 servings

2 cups roasted red pepper puree, recipe here
2 cups chopped fresh basil
1 cup homemade chicken stock
1 cup Trader Joe's coconut milk
1/2 cup lower histamine white wine (see What I Eat)
1 large shallot, chopped
2 - 4 T lemon juice (depends on if you want it a little on the acidic side)
2 T olive oil
1 tsp. dried thyme or a few sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in pan and add shallots.  Saute until browned.  Add basil and cook until wilted.  Salt and pepper.  Add with red pepper puree to a blender or food processor and blend.  Return to pan and add chicken stock, coconut milk, wine, lemon juice, and thyme.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Adjust salt and pepper.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sweet Pepper Spaghetti Sauce

I've been working on several recipes using sweet red peppers as a tomato replacement.  Here's the first one!

Sweet Pepper Spaghetti Sauce

6 large red bell peppers, roasted and pureed (see recipe below) to make about 2 cups
2T olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
1 pound ground meat
1 cup lower histamine white wine (see "What I Eat")
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1T dried oregano
1t dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Add 2 T sugar if you like the sweeter taste of tomato sauce

1.  Saute shallots and garlic in the olive oil until lightly browned.  Add ground meat and cook thoroughly.

2.  Add pepper puree and the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low heat until thickened, stirring often, about 15 minutes.

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Puree

1.  Cut tops off peppers, wash and clean out insides.  Place upside down on lightly greased cookie sheet.

2.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 50 - 60 minutes, until skins begin to char and look wrinkly.

3.  Remove from oven.  Using two forks, peel off skin.

4.  Place in blender or food processor and puree.

This freezes well.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Updates thru 1-12-12

Dr. L Riesling, Loosen Bros., Germany
Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, Italy
Kung Fu Girl Riesling, Charles Smith Wines, Washington
juniper berries

Due to cross-contamination problems, I'm no longer using Bob's Red Mill Ground Flax.  I am using their organic whole seed golden flax and sifting through it before grinding (in a Tri-Best personal blender with the grinding blade).  I've also found the golden flax makes baked products a nice golden color, versus the slightly gray tinge the regular flax seeds give.

Chicken Pot Pie

This doesn't have the traditional pot pie crust (still working on a pie crust that is worth it), but it's really good!  And a good way to use leftover chicken and vegetables. 

Chicken Pot Pie - Makes 2 6-inch square individual serving pans (from Ikea)
2 cups of vegetables - if they're not already cooked, cook until just starting to become soft
  I used kohlrabi and green beans for this batch
1 cup homemade chicken broth
1/2 cup diced chicken (or any meat)
1/2 cup chopped fennel (stems work fine)
1/2 cup safe white wine
1 shallot, diced
3 T olive oil + about 1 T more
1 - 2 T arrowroot starch
1 T fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf

1 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 cup Spectrum palm shortening
1T lemon juice + water to equal 1/2 cup

1.  Saute fennel and shallots in the 3T olive oil until browned.  Add broth, wine, thyme, and bay leaf.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf.
2.  Whisk in the arrowroot starch - 1T if you like a slightly thickened gravy, 2T if you like a thicker gravy - and remove from heat.
3.  Divide vegetables and chicken between two individual serving pans.  Pour half of gravy mixture over each pan.
4.  Mix up topping (work in shortening with fingers or a pastry blender) and divide between pans.  I like to put it on as little lumps (more like a cobbler), but if you want a more traditional crust look, smooth it out until it covers the whole top.  Sprinkle top with olive oil.
5.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until tops are golden.